The best cafe in the world

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This is the best cafe in the world. It is the Anisetta Meletti in Ascoli Piceno, which is a mouthful. It is in the Marche region of Italy, north of the more famous Abruzzi region.

The building is original, nothing changed since World War II. Wooden doors and tables, gold leaf on the windows, marble bar with brass foot rail. They make a famous house brand of Anis and some other liquors.

The barmen wear bow ties; they are professional. You order a Cafe Americano, they set it on the counter three minutes later with a small glass of water, steamed milk, and a biscuit. One Euro thirty cents.

They have a Christmas tree, with ornaments that invite you to give to the orphanage. The bathrooms are so beautifully tiled that you want to cry in them.

The air inside smells faintly of roasted anise seeds and burnt coffee, the air sounds like faint Brahms and shoe leather.

If I lived in Ascoli Piceno I would come here every day. In summer I would sit outside on Fridays and look kindly upon pigeons.

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